LYNN — When Pat Salvi purchased the North Shore Navigators in 2012, he knew exactly who to entrust with the team’s day-to-day operations.
Ohio native Bill Terlecky, who has a decorated career in minor league baseball, has held the role for the past nine years.
“I’ve worked in baseball for 41 years and when Pat decided he was going to buy Lynn and wanted to buy Lynn, he called me up,” Terlecky, 65, said. “We had a prior relationship. He asked if I’d go run it for him and I said, ‘I’m there.'”
Since then, Terlecky has called Lynn “home.” He has made it a point to provide Navigators fans with a top-notch experience at Fraser Field while involving the organization in community activities.
“When you’re in my end of it, the thing you enjoy most is at the end of the day when you’ve had a big crowd, you worked your tail off to put it all together, you’ve had a great night at the ballpark and you send everybody home happy,” Terlecky said. “I think that’s what the essence of the job is. Filling the ballpark with a big crowd, there’s nothing better.”
Earlier this week, Terlecky announced his decision to retire at the end of the Navigators’ season. Citing health reasons, Terlecky said he feels the time is right. He was diagnosed with cancer in February 2018. After tests and rounds of chemotherapy, it was found that Terlecky has an inoperable tumor.
“The unfortunate thing is the fight with that isn’t going too well,” Terlecky said. “It just got to the point where I can no longer do the job the way I think the job needs to be done. I can’t get out to all the community events, do the things. I just have to step back. I know what it takes to run this team. I can’t do it anymore, unfortunately. The health won’t allow it.”
His nine-year tenure in Lynn, Terlecky said, couldn’t have gone better.
“This has been an unbelievable experience, made so by the fact that we’ve had some success here,” Terlecky said. “It’s been a tremendous run. We wanted to continue. I was ready to go at least five more years. Hopefully it’ll continue on, what we’ve built and how we’ve done things. It’s been a blast, no doubt about it. It’s been special here, and I’ve been to a lot of ballparks.
“I’m disappointed that I have to step away but it was just time,” Terlecky said. “I’m proud that we didn’t miss a beat. I don’t think that any part of the operations suffered and that’s because a lot of people stepped up. Ashley Laramie, Joe Gill, Joe Scurto, Madoc Fisher — those are four people who surrounded me this summer and made sure that we’d keep going.”
Terlecky was honored with a pregame ceremony prior to Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Nashua Silver Knight at Fraser Field — the Navigators’ final home game of the regular season. He tossed the ceremonial first pitch with his son, Tyler, there to catch it.
“I had to go get loose so that I could at least put on a good representation,” Terleky joked.
On the field, the Navigators are doing their part to make Terlecky’s final season with the team one to remember. North Shore’s set to make its first Futures Collegiate Baseball League postseason appearance since the 2016 season. But the Navigators are hungry for more.
“It’s better than icing on the cake,” Terlecky said. “Just to be able to have that playoff atmosphere, that ‘good stress’ around the ballpark, it’s good to have that feeling one more time. The other thing about it is we feel we have a good team to win. We’ve got some horses here.
“The boys want to win. We’ll see what happens.”
As for what Terlecky will take up once his baseball responsibilities are all said and done, he isn’t quite sure.
“I don’t have the faintest idea what I’m going to do,” Terlecky said. “This took up so much of my time. I love going to the beach. We’ll figure that out but I have a big void to fill, that’s for sure.”